It is almost impossible for a television group to exceed even-year income during an odd year, and Gannett certainly failed to do so, but when political and Olympic income is taken out of the equation, Gannett’s television division had a very successful Q3 2013.
Broadcast revenue fell from $237M to $203.4M, but was up 14% when the absence of the aforementioned Olympic and political spending is taken into account. Television revenue fell from $233M to $198.5M, but benefitted from a 62.8% increase in retransmission consent income. Core advertising income rose 13.6%.
Looking ahead at television, Gannett earned $91.2M in political during Q4 2012 – a total it has no hope of matching this year. It is therefore expecting a double-digit decrease in revenues.
Gannett’s acquisition of the Belo television group has been approved by Belo shareholders and is currently under regulatory review.
Gracia Martore, president and chief executive officer, said, “In the third quarter, we continued to take steps to further expand our digital offerings and execute across all of our media and marketing platforms. We achieved a 12 percent increase in digital revenue company-wide, which underscores our ongoing evolution into a more highly diversified, higher margin multi-media company. In our Broadcast and Publishing businesses, despite challenging comparisons to third quarter 2012 — which benefited from Summer Olympic advertising, record political spending and the significant ramp-up of our content subscription model — we performed well. Total company-wide third quarter 2013 revenue was essentially flat, excluding the incremental impact from Olympic and political spending last year.”
Martore added, “We are also pleased that during the quarter, Belo shareholders approved the pending acquisition, and we continue to anticipate bringing the transaction to a close following the attainment of regulatory approvals. We are working towards a seamless integration that will accelerate our transformation and create an even stronger Gannett.”